SAKHIR – Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton took advantage of Ferrari new boy Charles Leclerc’s wretched misfortune on Sunday when he claimed a dramatic victory for Mercedes in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The five-time champion, who looked to be heading for second behind the 21-year-old Monegasque, gained the lead with 10 laps remaining when Formula One’s new star, who claimed a record-breaking pole position for Ferrari on Saturday, was hit by engine problems.
As he slowed, Hamilton hunted him down to claim his first win of the season, his third at the Bahrain International Circuit and the 74th of his career ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who won the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Leclerc came home third as the race finished behind a Safety Car, following the spectacular late exit of both Renaults at Turn Two, ahead of Max Verstappen of Red Bull.
“It happens,” said a calm Leclerc afterwards. “It’s part of motorsport. It’s a very hard one to take, but I am sure we will come back stronger.”